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Rangers fail to finish off Blue Jays, still up 2-1 in series

As AJM always says, the two-out, three-run home run is always a back-breaker

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers lead ALDS 2-1

Who said it would be easy?

The game started off well enough with the Jays and Rangers trading zeros through the first two innings and Rangers' starter Martin Perez looked great. Perez looked like he had his good change-up and sinker going as he got four ground outs and two strikeouts in the first two innings.

In the top of the third, the bottom of the order got to Perez a bit when he gave up a lead off double to Dioner Navarro on a play that froze Delino DeShields in center field for a moment and it bounced off the wall. Navarro eventually scored on a Ryan Goins double play as Perez minimized the damage.

In the top of the fourth, Perez was facing the vaunted top of the Jays' order for the second time and ran into trouble. Josh Donaldson doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a Jose Bautista fly out. Jeff Banister elected to intentionally walk Edwin Encarnacion as he did in Game 2. Chris Colabello followed by drawing a walk to load the bases and Troy Tulowitzki collected an RBI by drawing the Blue Jays' third consecutive walk as Perez refused to elevate his pitches into the zone.

However, Navarro grounded into a double play and Perez once against escaped. Up 2-0, the Rangers offense was doing a whole bunch of nothing against Toronto's Marco Estrada. In many ways, Estrada's outing reminded me of Yovani Gallardo. He seemed to fall behind a bunch of hitters and often went to a 3-2 count before inducing weak contact for easy outs when the Rangers did put the ball in play.

In the fateful sixth inning, the Rangers got perhaps a bit greedy by allowing Perez to pitch against the top of the Blue Jays' order for a third time. Donaldson collected an infield single before Bautista singled to left. That was the end of Perez's night. He finished going five innings allowing six hits and eventually four runs. Those extra two runs came off the bat of Tulowitzki as Chi Chi Gonzalez came in and walked Encarnacion before getting Colabello to ground into a nifty double play. It looked like the Rangers might be able to get out of it still down just 2-0. However, Tulowitzki was up next and hit a 3-2 pitch into the first row of the left field seats for a crushing three-run home run.

Texas still didn't do much with the bats. They did score a run in the bottom of the 8th when Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton each singled and Rougned Odor brought home Elvis on a ground out. Overall, the offense collected just five hits. The 2-3-4 guys in the order -- quiet all series -- went a dismal 0-12 as they continued to miss the bat of Adrian Beltre who was out for the second consecutive game with a lower back strain.

And so, we move on to Game 4 tomorrow. Since David Price warmed up tonight you have to assume that former Ranger draftee R.A. Dickey will probably make his scheduled start while the Rangers will send Derek Holland to face the Blue Jays in his first postseason start since the infamous Game 4 of the 2011 World Series.

Go Rangers!

Player Fan of the Game:

WFAA's Levi Weaver caught Tulo's dinger and promptly sent it back from whence it came.